Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BLACK... the exhibit

The Black Artists of D C and the D C Arts Center present an exhibition, BLACK. The curators, Amber Robles-Gordon and Daniel T. Brooking, were successful in their goal to encourage the participating artists to define black in all of its splendor. I have always been fascinated by the successful use of the color, black on black, as a positive force of power in the creative process, but was proud to see the various ways in which those artists, that I know as friends and colleagues, have interpreted the color, the concept, the image, and various subtexts of black culture within expected societal constructs as well as not so readily expected constructs. Beauty, grace, economics, racism, slavery, discrimination, language, education, history were all incorporated, yet diversely different, and unified into the single theme of BLACK either specifically stated or implied. The message through color, use of language, selection of or creation of representational images all shouted, documented, and celebrated black. 

The image above, incorporating the theme of the exhibition, BLACK, includes the works, from left to right, of Claudia Gibson-Hunter, The Diva and the Carpenter; from the estate of Harlee Little, Every Shut Eye; and Amber Robles-Gordon, Cosmic Black 1. According to Amber's exhibit statement, "We are indebted to ...the late Harlee Little, one of the founding members of Black Artists of D C, for the concept of the exhibit." This concept, for such an exhibit, has now been realized and beautifully executed.

The following are a couple of additional images from the show:

Sonya Clarke, Afro Abe II, paper (currency) and thread, 8"x1"x4"

Afro Abe transcends the concept of race and transports the traditional image of Lincoln to a Black world with an embroidered afro on an unexpected medium, currency... a statement on hair culture and race politics in America.

Gloria C. Kirk, For Hire, giclee print, 25"x19"

For Hire captured what was obviously standard language used in the sale and rental of Blacks as human commodity. The sentence fragments are simple, straightforward, but powerful in the use of language superimposed on the image of six young faces with expressive eyes peering through and emerging from the wood background, seemingly imprisoned by the words which surround them... FOR HIRE, white woman, 18 years, 16 years, Jefferson County, servants; sentences not complete but message easily understood.

Visit the exhibit and support both the Black Artists of D C and the D C Arts Center. Again, congratulations to Amber, Daniel, and all the artists included in the BLACK exhibit. BLACK is on view through January 10, 2010 at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC 2009. 

© 2009 Black Art Project... all rights reserved. For permission to reproduce contact: blackartproject@comcast.net.

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